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Q&A with the golfer John Cook about his near miss at winning the 1992 British Open.


On the green at 17, did you’re thinking that you needed to make an eagle?

I’m pondering, if this [30-foot] putt goes in, great. If it doesn’t, not an enormous thing. Just go up, tap it in and move on to 18. I hit a superb first putt, just missed on the precise edge. It went by a few feet. I went up and marked it. This was just a little bit two-footer that normally you listen. I didn’t. I took it without any consideration.

What does that mean?

I got up and didn’t take into consideration exactly where I desired to hit it. I hit it too hard. It went through the break and missed. There’s some pressure there. I didn’t really feel it, but once I give it some thought, I got out of my routine, and that’s a part of not handling the pressure. A part of handling the pressure is you stay in that routine. The identical walk, the identical marking of your ball, the identical putting it down. For some reason, I took it without any consideration that this was already given to me.

How did you take care of such a heartbreaking loss?

That night was not comfortable. I got back to the home we were renting with Mark. He got here out and handed us [Cook and his caddie] a few beers. He didn’t really say anything. He was busted up.

Thirty years later, is the pain still there?

Quite truthfully, it’s. Everyone keeps reminding me: “You’ve had an exquisite profession. You’ve won 20 plus times on each tours. You possibly can be pleased with yourself.” Yeah, I’m very pleased with that. I’ve won plenty of golf tournaments.

But I’m disillusioned I didn’t win a serious. I assumed I had the sport to win any of the majors.

Who you picking for St. Andrews?

I feel Rory’s [McIlroy] game is good. You’ve got to maintain it out of bunkers, and also you’ve got to steer clear of hitting that one [disastrous] shot. He has that one shot in him. He can’t afford to have that one shot. And I feel Xander [Schauffele, who has won his last two starts]. Those could be my two.

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